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Superfast broadband just about promotes economic growth

Sam Shead | Nov. 13, 2013
An academic study out today suggests that businesses create jobs and grow faster as a result of broadband improvements. However, the findings suggest that access to high speed internet connections may simply be the price of staying in business, rather than delivering a fundamental transformation of a local economy.

Andy Phippen, a professor of social responsibility in IT at Plymouth University, said that the quicker network speeds had fundamentally changed businesses in Cornwall, allowing them to work remotely and internationally. He also said that businesses had become greener as they had cut back on travel, despite not setting out to reduce their carbon footprint.

Liv Garfield, the chief executive of BT's Openreach infrastructure division, said that 20 million premises in the UK would have access to fibre broadband by next summer and claimed that the nation has already leapfrogged the likes of France, Italy and Spain.

Neeilie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, which provided much of the funding for the £139 million Cornwall project, said: "This research has real international significance because it starts to vindicate what we've said all along - that fibre broadband will energise our economy, generate jobs and save public money."

The number of UK households with access to super-fast broadband is now 73 percent, according to figures from regulator Ofcom.

The UK broadband market is dominated by BT (which includes Plusnet) with 6.79 million subscribers by July 2013, up from 6.28 million in March 2012. Sky, too, is on the rise with 4.91 million subscribers, up from 3.86 million in the same period, pushing Virgin Media into third place with 4.47 million subscribers. The losers have been TalkTalk and EE/Orange, both static on 4.07 million and 700,000, respectively.


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